(Note: This thread was split from the Boston board at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8459... -- The Chowhound Team)
Agree with Karl S. Bird's nest is prized for its ability to help heal and restore chi. My mom brought a several bottles for me after I had my kids.
You can get the actual bird's nest (BTW, Bird's nest is spit from a swallow, a type of bird) all ready to consume in bottles with sugered water probably in herbal/medicine shops in Chinatown. This is probably the cheapest way to sample bird's nest for the first time. The bird's nest should be relatively whole (that is in big pieces) and not in small pieces. If possible, the bird's nest should be off-white and not have dark bits in them, which would indicate impurities. These are the usual things I look for when buying bird's nest.
I have never had bird's nest in chicken broth. Only sweet and as dessert. My mom would buy whole bird's nest and cook it in a crockpot with water, rock sugar and a little ginger.